From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 18, 2020): Marines take security roles for Cotabato City, BARMM (By Edwin Fernandez)
AUGMENTING SECURITY. Brig. Gen. Jonas Lumawag, 1st Marine Brigade commander (left) inspect one of the quarantine checkpoints of the 5th Marine Battalion Landing Team in Maguindanao on Friday, (April 17, 2020). The Marines expands its area of operation to include Cotabato City and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional center as it takes over the role of Joint Task Force Central in securing the city. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)
COTABATO CITY – The Philippine Marines have assumed the role of the military-led Task Force Cotabato in securing Cotabato City and its immediate environs.
Members of the 1st Marine Brigade (Mbde), led by Brig. Gen. Jonas Lumawag, on Friday, were deployed in the entry and exit points of the city, including its tributaries, said Lt. Col. Edgardo Vilchez Jr, spokesperson of the Army-led Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) securing the Central Mindanao area.
Part of the duties of the Marines is the security of city residents and government facilities of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in the area.
Vilchez, also chief of the 6th Civil-Military Operations Battalion, said a directive from higher headquarters will have part of the 1Mbde taking the lead role in securing the periphery of Cotabato City effective immediately.
He said the area of operation of JTFC, under Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, will be expanded and that the Army’s 5th Special Forces Battalion helping the 300-strong city police force in securing the locality will form part of the expansion.
“This is just realignment of troops, a normal military practice in improving its security performance,” Vilchez said in a radio interview Saturday.
He assured the public that military forces in Central Mindanao under the leadership of Carreon and Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana will always uphold human rights and civilian supremacy in their duty to protect the communities.
Vilchez also called on all local government executives to continue working with the Armed Forces for the safety of everyone under its area of jurisdiction.